Thursday, August 11 2016 15:03

Back-to-School Shopping: Rock Daughter-style! (with #90sRedux Spotify Playlist)

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This Back-to-School Fashion Showcase is presented in partnership with Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Back-to-School season can be a double-edged sword for people - loving it on one hand, while dreading it on another. Personally, I always loved shopping for new clothes and supplies each year, but as parents, my wife and I feel that the season comes earlier than it did back when we were kids. The Rock Daughters™ get out of school in June, start summer academy right away (no break) and when that wraps at the end of the month, we're already at July and the Back-to-School ads are already showing up in the mailbox. By the end of August, school is back in session and the girls need to be ready to rock the halls... and they're doing it in-style with some new clothes that we discovered during a recent trip to Woodfield Mall - the largest and most-visited mall in Illinois, located just west of Chicago in suburban Schaumburg. Truth be told, I don't know how much attention (if any) my parents paid to fashion trends when we were little, and I know that by my own High School years I wasn't necessarily the most fashionable lad (I'm still not), but it's weird to think that we're now old enough that the trends from our High School years are back in vogue. In the 80s, it was always the 50s/60s that seemed nostalgic... the 70s in the 90s, the 80s in the 00s. Now that 20-year cycle has come into this decade, and #90sRedux is one of the hottest things going. Kids are going back-to-school this fall in what looks like the must-haves circa 1994 - the year that I graduated from High School! Factor in the #OffBeat music-inspired mix and the #ModernUtility trend, and you've got what's essentially my favorite fashion season ever, because what's old is new again (and I'm old?). If we're gonna go throwback, we're also gonna need a proper playlist, so I've curated one on Spotify.


With Addie (7) and Finn (4) entering into Second Grade and Pre-K, there are some limits as to how far we can push these trends - but those with slightly older children (tweens/teens especially) can run wild with options from the likes of Guess, Champs Sports, H&M, Vera Bradley, Footlocker and Columbia Sportswear - just a sampling of the 300+ stores at Woodfield. For the little ones and the mix of opinions between kids and parents, it became apparent that for us a mix-and-match approach between the three big trends would work perfectly.


Dozens of items... numerous combinations. For the most part, the girls found their own mix, though we did steer them clear of the light denim a bit, since these kids won't be headed to The Peach Pit after school...


Out of all the stuff we purchased (and there was a lot), the one thing I regret not buying is that Minnie Mouse Bomber Jacket - which perfectly paired pop culture with that modern utility vibe. We told the girls they could each get one jacket, and Finn went with the leather-esque "rocker jacket" instead. As the girls go back-to-school and start wearing their new threads, we'll be doing our daily #SidewalkFashionShow on Instagram, but for now the girls wanted to show off a couple of their favorite outfits - each mixed-and-matched, and given a different look with the jacket on top:


90's Redux: A Back-to-School Playlist for 1994 & 2016 - 106 songs, over 7 hours of music hand-picked by The Rock Father! I've always been pretty musically-diverse, but my personal soundtrack of 1994 leaned heavily toward indie rock, alternative and metal. In assembling this special playlist, I focused on songs from albums released in 1994, or popular singles of 1994 - many of which were from albums released in 1993. There was more that certainly could've been included, but this list is a time capsule of different artists and styles, along with some under-the-radar songs that never quite reached the mainstream. With 90s staples like Hi-C Ecto Cooler, Crystal Pepsi, slap bracelets, Pokemon and more back on the scene in 2016, it just feels right to pop this on and think back to what once was, and what is again. 

Want to share your own throwback style for a shot at winning a $5,000 shopping spree or a gift card for use at one of the many Simon Malls located nationwide? Enter the #tbtbts #contest at Simon.com/Throwback, or share your photo of a favorite Back-to-School look from back in the day on social media using hashtags #BTSatWoodfieldMall, #tbtbts and #contest. Your old-school fashion just might do the trick to help you get some fresher styles this fall!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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